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Exclusive Fantagraphics preview: Jason’s If You Steal presents off-kilter short stories

With his simplified art style and wry sense of humor, Norwegian cartoonist Jason has crafted some immensely entertaining stories featuring anthropomorphized animal characters. And next month, Fantagraphics is releasing a collection of Jason’s short comics to show his versatility as a storyteller. Some of the comics in If You Steal include a tale about Frida Kahlo as a hired killer, a heist incorporating images by famed painter René Magritte, and the cartoonist’s take on JFK’s assassination; this preview spotlights an unconventional murder mystery involving a 50-foot Jackson’s chameleon. These pages showcase Jason’s understated characterizations, atmospheric coloring, and talent for diffusing tension with comedy (why is Professor Jones so fixated on the roots of masturbation?), balancing a fantastic concept with a grounded perspective that makes it easy to forget these are walking, talking dogs investigating a murder allegedly committed by a giant reptile.

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